Host requirement ideas

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Post by Justin Passing on Sat May 03, 2008 2:14 am

Here are some ideas for forum host requirements:

- The ability to configure, run, change, back-up, etc the forum software the way we want it. Basically, our host provides us space on their servers, and allows the forum software (probably phpbb) to run. We configure, we choose add-ons & features, we control what the forum looks like. Our content and activities need to remain legal of course, but aside from that we choose what goes on.

- We need full access to at least all the data & configuration files associated with our forum. Part of the reason for that is local backup. Another reason would be to test forum software upgrades/add-ons offline before implementing them online. But we also need access to those files if, for whatever reason, we need to move to a new host someday. I'm sick to death of losing threads, and want that to stop.

- Reliable servers, with some form of technical support staff available to us. No host can promise to be running 24/7 without any glitches, but they should have a good track record. They also need to be able to provide adequate bandwidth for us, but sadly I've no idea what that will be. At a guess, I would expect that even an incredibly active forum would only have modest bandwidth requirements, so hopefully that won't be a problem.

- The ability to add other associated features, such as a web site, that we control. We may decide a web site should be hosted elsewhere, since that way the chances of both the forum and the web site being down at the same time are less, but still, it would be nice to have the ability to expand if we wanted to.

- Reasonable costs, preferably with a sliding scale based on storage needs &/or bandwidth requirements. That way, our costs will be small as long as we're small. They'll increase as we grow of course, but hopefully our ability to pay will increase as well. Of course, free is great too, but "free" usually comes at a cost of some kind.

- The ability to purchase a domain name at some point for a reasonable fee. Our host doesn't have to do that for us necessarily, but they should allow us to do it ourselves if they don't offer it as a service.

- This shouldn't be a problem, but we will want to be able to freely copy & update the board's data & configuration files without shutting the board down. A momentary lock on operation is fine, but it would be nice to avoid a full shut down for such things.

- I expect there's more, but it's late, and my mind is blank.
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Post by reb on Sat May 03, 2008 10:23 am

Justin, i asked melodi last night if anyone has contacted the current host with our plans. she hadn't; i haven't; i will try to find out how we do that, and let ya'll know...
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Post by StrawberryLife on Sat May 03, 2008 10:42 am

I want a foot massage too & 2 handsome young hunks to fan me with palm leaves & promise everlasting amazingness & desire... Just kidding!! Very Happy

Justin, you summed it up quite well... There may be more things when we think of them, but host stability & backup ability & ability to move easily further on if needed/desired seem quite imoportant to me too...

There are sites online reviewing webhosts & uptime & such too...

I read it might be a good idea to buy the domain name from someone other than the webhost.. (Some webhosts had turned iffy on some people in the past... ie if a domain name proved really popular, they refused to sell it again the next year or so, or took down a site inbetween or such.. So it's best to not go for the cheapest, or 'indefinite space' (which usually isn't, and may mean overload of servers & buying new servers & downtime or crashes), but for someone reputable who has been around for a while..)

Problems may arise when a host changes location (& the new one may be worse, wiring- or cooling-wise) or many new servers are bought, or there are too little servers... So it would be good to learn about a particular host from host reviews & what their plans are etc.

I think it might be better to discuss such or more specific things in a private forum - could this forum be made private too? (Or is it already?)
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Post by melodiccolor on Sat May 03, 2008 5:12 pm

All good ideas. Justin, you appear to have covered all the most important basics, but then I know you have given this some thought.

Reb, I don't know if we need to notify our host of our plans until we're closer to actually doing something. Right now, it's just discussion and research.

Strawberry, the host specifically stated that they don't moniter or read forums, but rely on members of those forums and the honor system for enforcement of their rules. So it may be ok to leave this thread here. I'm not sure. You do have some good ideas too, especially the one about the review sites.

All this potential, I'm starting to get really enthusiastic about our forum (not that I wasn't before, but it just got kicked up a serious notch). beatingheart
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Post by Justin Passing on Sat May 03, 2008 6:07 pm

StrawberryLife wrote:I think it might be better to discuss such or more specific things in a private forum - could this forum be made private too? (Or is it already?)
I'm not a big fan of making everything private. Seeking safety through secrets tends to create a world full of pain & suffering, and I try not to allow my desires for privacy to get out of hand. Some things here should be private, but figuring we should prevent our current host from reading our board planning discussions seems a bit paranoid to me. What do we have to hide? Is it really necessary?

That said, I've no objection to making this forum private, and it's certainly easy enough to do, I just question the need to do so. The world I want to live in has little need for secrecy, and indulging in "quite rational paranoia" takes me further and further from it. Still, if people think we should make this forum private, I'm ok with that.
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Post by StrawberryLife on Sat May 03, 2008 6:25 pm

LOL I didn't mean to 'hide' things from host people lol...

I thought more about things like the 'test-words' post not really reflecting all that this site would be about & maybe scaring off people who might actually like the site when it's up... Or about specific things like money & specific webhosts being discussed 'in the open'... (?) Or was it supposed to do that via PMs? Suspect Then again, we could always discuss some of these things in the Super-Secret Subforum!! lol (Love it!! Thanks!!)
Hmm.. Maybe I shouldn't mention it in public? Shocked Mad Wink Sorry, the paranoia!! cyclops What a Face Like a Star @ heaven

I totally agree some forums should remain 'public' (hence the idea for more forums lol) sunny

But I totally understand it that at the moment as the fate of this site (or the Universe) is unsure other things may have priority.. & that people might get too 'cozy' here & lulled into a false sense of security & then there could be ever-so-slight difficulties getting 'uprooted' if we had to move elsewhere... Sorry to be off topic... Very Happy

Gosh, I'm starting to sound like the people in Battlestar Galactica!! OoO /Too much forum-time today, definitely!! Very Happy /
Anyway, great to hear about all the ideas!!
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Post by melodiccolor on Sat May 03, 2008 7:38 pm

About the privacy issue, we'll figure it out. At this point, I don't see anything that needs to stay private on this thread. As for talking about personal subjects: that really needs to stay private from mainly web crawlers looking for data and for search engines.

At this point, I'd like to extend an invitation to all members; anyone willing to search for a host that will meet the above criterea is most welcome to join in. The more really good options we have the better at this point. It will give us the information we need to make a good choice and will let us know just how creative we can get.

Many thanks to those who are already helping on this and to those who are willing to join in. thumbsup beatingheart
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Post by Nucky on Sat May 03, 2008 11:04 pm

Hostgator looks like it may have all of those features.
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default Re: Host requirement ideas

Post by reb on Sat May 03, 2008 11:48 pm

melodi, not talking about notifying host of anything; talking about asking them questions as to 'what are limits on this host site'. it seems that we have reached some conclusions; are these conclusions based on facts, or projection? my question is 'has anyone talked personally to the host administrators?'....doesn't seem like anyone has. there is a communication breakdown with them-i think you told me they are french-i'm wondering how mnuch of what has been postulated has been verified. all this discussion of 'what if' is a waste of time until we know the actual limits of the host site.

the discussion 'we' are having is based on????? a discussion with the host admins would be based on our questions, and their answers (hopefully, they have answers). that's what i was looking for; a direct line to someone on the host admin board.
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Post by melodiccolor on Sun May 04, 2008 12:17 am

So you think that maybe we can expand on what the limitations are in the current forum format? Asking questions about that might be worthwhile. Just to see what, if any, are our options here.

Have you tried the admin panel yet? Justin's right, it is extremely limited. But if that can be expanded....

But, I am not the one to speak to about this as I am the least tech experienced person on this forum. Laughing Rolling Eyes But even I could figure out how limited our controls are.
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Post by reb on Sun May 04, 2008 2:55 pm

all i think is-we are 'here'; we should talk to the creators of the host to see what is actually available. that's why mankind invented 'speech', to communicate. if we don't ask, we won't know. i asked....had nothing as of last night...we'll see.

jumping from this host to another one is putting the cart before the horse...this never works. one has to know where one 'is', to know where one is going....jimo.
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Post by melodiccolor on Sun May 04, 2008 3:16 pm

The Nothing forum was always intended to be just a place where we could all meet and figure out where we wanted to go from here. It was done quickly, with only some thought as to our long term needs. Still, thanks to Nucky, we do have a place to figure things out. And while we do, people can easily find us. You know that when we decide on a permanent local, that I'll make sure everyone can find us, as always.

I think finding out just what is available to us here is an excellent idea; I am glad you are looking into it. But, at the same time, we need to continue looking to see what is out there that can best meet our needs. There may be a package with this host that does; my guess is that there will be several good options to choose from when we are ready and have a better idea of what we want the final site to be capable of doing and feeling like.

This is the creative phase, to dream big and include what everyone feels most important in a site.

My own personal needs in a forum are simple; a fun, stable place where people enjoy themselves, make friends and grow. A site that is easy for inexperienced people to quickly use, but with enough features for the techies to enjoy too, and one that is easy for older eyes like mine to read.
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Post by Nucky on Sun May 04, 2008 3:34 pm

When I created this place, I did so knowing that we wouldn't necessarily make this our permanent home. I just made this forum as a place where we could discuss where we wanted to go from here.
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Post by melodiccolor on Sun May 04, 2008 3:46 pm

Exactly! Very Happy
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Post by Justin Passing on Sun May 04, 2008 5:52 pm

I've been digging around a bit here, and this host does offer a fair amount of customization. The most serious shortfalls I see at the moment are:

- no member option for choosing different skins (looks). That means the forum will always look the same to everyone, which I think is unfortunate. A large number of people in our group are very visually creative, and it would be nice to let everyone who wants to do so create their own look(s) and share them with the group. Some of us (like me) have older eyes, and prefer simple clear displays with large text and good contrast. Others will undoubtedly want a more artistic look, with more color/graphics/backgrounds/smaller text & icons/whatever. We can customize the look of the forum here quite extensively, and a fairly large variety of skins are available to use as starting points, but we appear to be limited to just one look.

- no access to our message database for the purposes of offline backup and/or moving to another host. That means, if something happens to our host, we lose the forum.

- awkward instructions & help, at least for me, probably because the native language here is French, and most of the support info is translated into English. It could be just me - I'm no expert on this stuff - but their choice of wording in most cases leaves me quite confused about what they're trying to say. For instance, they refer to the file size (bytes) of pictures as their "weight", and don't seem to use standard abbreviations for things like kilobytes & megabytes. Strange.

- I have no idea about their track record for things like server downtime, or how stable a company they are. From what I can tell however, bandwidth and capacity shouldn't be a problem for us anytime soon.

While those are serious shortcomings (in my opinion), otherwise this seems like a pretty good host. We can have an opening "index" page (portal), which can be made into a web-page of sorts, with links to other pages, although I'm not sure those other pages can be hosted here. Possibly. Obviously enough, we can have a chat box, but it can't be made private, and pretty much has to appear on the opening page. To discover more I'll have to set up a test forum and try things, since the instructions provided simply don't explain how things work clearly enough for me. Sadly, my own knowledge of HTML and CSS is quite limited. Since that's how most of the configuration takes place, I've got a lot of learning to do, and precious little time to do it.
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Post by melodiccolor on Sun May 04, 2008 7:48 pm

Justin Passing wrote:I've been digging around a bit here, and this host does offer a fair amount of customization. The most serious shortfalls I see at the moment are:

- no member option for choosing different skins (looks). That means the forum will always look the same to everyone, which I think is unfortunate. A large number of people in our group are very visually creative, and it would be nice to let everyone who wants to do so create their own look(s) and share them with the group. Some of us (like me) have older eyes, and prefer simple clear displays with large text and good contrast. Others will undoubtedly want a more artistic look, with more color/graphics/backgrounds/smaller text & icons/whatever. We can customize the look of the forum here quite extensively, and a fairly large variety of skins are available to use as starting points, but we appear to be limited to just one look.

- no access to our message database for the purposes of offline backup and/or moving to another host. That means, if something happens to our host, we lose the forum.

- awkward instructions & help, at least for me, probably because the native language here is French, and most of the support info is translated into English. It could be just me - I'm no expert on this stuff - but their choice of wording in most cases leaves me quite confused about what they're trying to say. For instance, they refer to the file size (bytes) of pictures as their "weight", and don't seem to use standard abbreviations for things like kilobytes & megabytes. Strange.

- I have no idea about their track record for things like server downtime, or how stable a company they are. From what I can tell however, bandwidth and capacity shouldn't be a problem for us anytime soon.

While those are serious shortcomings (in my opinion), otherwise this seems like a pretty good host. We can have an opening "index" page (portal), which can be made into a web-page of sorts, with links to other pages, although I'm not sure those other pages can be hosted here. Possibly. Obviously enough, we can have a chat box, but it can't be made private, and pretty much has to appear on the opening page. To discover more I'll have to set up a test forum and try things, since the instructions provided simply don't explain how things work clearly enough for me. Sadly, my own knowledge of HTML and CSS is quite limited. Since that's how most of the configuration takes place, I've got a lot of learning to do, and precious little time to do it.

It's not just you; I've been having difficulty understanding what they mean or what their instructions are too. I think they are using a translation program that isn't well written. But at least we have some idea of what we can or can't do here.

My intuition tells me that even though we can't back up or take threads with us whole, it might be time to start a basic forum here to use while we take the time to learn what we need to to build the final site. We can always link the two for a short time at the beginning of the new site, maybe (?). People seem to need a full forum now.

On another problem, any ideas on where to look for a solution of being unable to edit posts?
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Post by Logan (Earthmaiden) on Sun May 04, 2008 9:28 pm

I have edited my posts Melodi, what are you talking about?

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Post by melodiccolor on Sun May 04, 2008 9:37 pm

Every time I try to edit one of mine, I end up on a blank page off the site when I try to send the edited post. I have to close it down and reenter and the changes are lost.
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Post by Logan (Earthmaiden) on Sun May 04, 2008 9:42 pm

Maybe there is something in your profile that's set to prevent this. Have you double checked your profile for anything that might be preventing this?

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Post by Logan (Earthmaiden) on Sun May 04, 2008 9:45 pm

Nope, nothing in your profile to indicate why this is happening.

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Post by melodiccolor on Sun May 04, 2008 9:49 pm

I didn't think there was. If it is just my computer....My computer crashed a couple of weeks ago, and we had to reformat the hard drive. I can't believe this is starting again so soon. I do have full security on it. I haven't even added my backed up documents to my main drive yet! Shit....
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Post by reb on Sun May 04, 2008 11:58 pm

then, rather than talk about 'we think we want', what are our needs? where's the mission statement? what's the goal? no goal, no path. no rudder. where, exactly, are we sailing to? and don't say 'everywhere', as we have to be specific-a lack of specificity will lead to a lack of quality in the end product....

gotta cut through the clutter if this is to have any discipline to it; what are 'have to's', 'want to's', and 'nice to have's'? someone start setting priorities of what we have to have to function as a forum. what questions should we ask the hosts? what criteria do we use to evaluate other boards or hosts?

i've been perfectly happy with the last five forums i've been on; the level of customization hasn't mattered to me one whit; the 'artistic' hoopla about vivid made no impression on me; i like a simple, contrasty color scheme that's easy to read-this light blue on white i'm getting is not endearing in the least-black on white woud be great, just like a book. i like 'view posts since last visit'; i delete pm's right after i read them, just as i do most email, except if there are legal consequences or potential legal consequences. i don't give a fig for picture capability, as i don't have any most of the time. those of you with high speed may want avatars of 1200 x 1600 pixels...i don't care if i have an avatar at all. those who want the most are going to have to set the luxury standard, as my needs are simple. if i can communicate, i'm happy.

you need, in any project, to set out your goals. if you do not, you vacillate in ways that waste much effort and time. fish, or cut bait?

re: editing posts, my 'screen' shows an 'edit/delete post' choice on every post. no problems here.
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Post by melodiccolor on Mon May 05, 2008 12:11 am

The idea was to get a general idea of what people wanted and from that, generate concrete plans, the mission statement, the goals, everything. We've only been here for about a week; but there is enough to summarize and begin to form a more definate image of what we want, in detail. I'll work on that tomorrow as it's getting late now. Most of what we need is a bit scattered in a few threads anyway, putting it all in one place would be helpful.

I don't think we're quite ready to go to the next phase, as a lot of people haven't spoken up yet, and a some are just now arriving. But, I think soon, we should be.
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Post by reb on Mon May 05, 2008 12:24 am

whether it was business, or classwork, an outline, or a goal was where you always had to start; a blank sheet of paper. maybe you tore up 30 before you got one you liked. but that's my advice to keep from going in circles....what do we want? those who haven't spoken up should feel free to do so, and it would be a help if they would. the rest of us guessing what people want int going to work....i think everyone knows me well enough to know i'm not going to guess what's wanted forever...tell me. i don't like to do 'is this good enough? how bout now?'

so, yes, congeal a statement if you can. it will save grief later; the rest of us need to honestly critique it; add to it, delete from it; it doesn't have to be perfect, but we can't move forward without a plan (even if we change it later). simple 'this is what we want....free and open communication; the least moderation and interference that we can achieve and still maintain a relatively peaceful environment; nurturing of creative impulses and self growth...'something like this, mebbe...i would add 'strangling of assholes' but someone might want to apply it to me....lol!

Smile
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Post by Logan (Earthmaiden) on Mon May 05, 2008 7:52 am

I don't think we're quite ready to go to the next phase, as a lot of people haven't spoken up yet, and a some are just now arriving.

Again I'm confused. Are you waiting for a full membership to arrive and give their views before you carry on making firm decisions about the forum? Why not set some things in place, as adminstrators do, and then things can be changed as you experience growth, and others ideas and inputs are conveyed?

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Post by melodiccolor on Mon May 05, 2008 2:36 pm

Logan wrote:
I don't think we're quite ready to go to the next phase, as a lot of people haven't spoken up yet, and a some are just now arriving.

Again I'm confused. Are you waiting for a full membership to arrive and give their views before you carry on making firm decisions about the forum? Why not set some things in place, as adminstrators do, and then things can be changed as you experience growth, and others ideas and inputs are conveyed?

Not exactly. Justin and I do have a clear vision of what we want, but part of it was the realisation that in order for this new site to have longevity, it couldn't be dependent on just a few people to work. Too much happens in rl, and people need to drop out for a time. So we thought if the group had input into it, the idea would morph into something more robust. We are beginning to set some things in place, but here, it is temporary. Still, what develops here will give direction to the final site. Even after it is going, it will of course continue to evolve.

I know it looks illogical and messy now; creative processes often do, especially in the early phases. INFP is the only one, besides me and Justin to have a clear idea of where we are headed, as she joined in early on, long before we came online with this. I know this is frustrating; be patient. I am working on making things clearer for everyone else. Actually, Reb's hypothetical statement is pretty good for a goal statement. I will be using it as part of the whole.

If few join in on the process, then we will go with what we have. I just wanted a bit of time for everyone to have a chance to give their input, and for me to continue to brainstorm. It's starting to come together. (Also, being hsp, I also had to deal with a bit of overwhelm and that did slow things down too; with what we went through with other forums, others are still recovering too. A lot of us can also add to that rl issues.)
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Post by reb on Mon May 05, 2008 3:19 pm

jmo, but 'waiting for godot' is just that....tomorrow never comes.

git 'er dun! lol!

if someone comes along later, and feels strongly about something we've done, don't like it, we can tell them to go take a flying leap at a rollling donut then. lol!

seriously, if y'all wanna wait for godot or his cousin, stopdot, alla same to me; i have no deadlines; no livelines either. i'm doing what i allus do in any case.

INFP, i'm listening to the 'best of u2-70-80' pretty dam good album. guess i won't take it to donate to the library Smile no pictures of crotch puppy on it, though...
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Post by melodiccolor on Mon May 05, 2008 3:33 pm

reb wrote:jmo, but 'waiting for godot' is just that....tomorrow never comes.

git 'er dun! lol!

if someone comes along later, and feels strongly about something we've done, don't like it, we can tell them to go take a flying leap at a rollling donut then. lol!

seriously, if y'all wanna wait for godot or his cousin, stopdot, alla same to me; i have no deadlines; no livelines either. i'm doing what i allus do in any case.

INFP, i'm listening to the 'best of u2-70-80' pretty dam good album. guess i won't take it to donate to the library Smile no pictures of crotch puppy on it, though...
reb

Reb!!! (grrrr) This is NOT waiting for godot! You know me better than that! sheesh.... Razz Rolling Eyes Honestly.... See the update thread I just posted.
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Post by BlueTopaz on Mon May 05, 2008 5:41 pm

Here is something I found on my forum that you might be able to use. There are a bunch of other tools available I think. There is a link to the home page on top I do believe.

http://hosting-metrics.network-tools.com/
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default Re: Host requirement ideas

Post by Nucky on Mon May 05, 2008 6:02 pm

reb wrote:INFP, i'm listening to the 'best of u2-70-80' pretty dam good album.

70-80? I had no idea U2 went back that far.
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